Is tempo trainer really beneficial???

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Is tempo trainer really beneficial???

Post by nightcrawler on Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:04 pm

Dear folks,

I have been using tempo trainer since the year 2011, first i was using the blue one with 2 modes, then the yellow one with 3 modes released and bought that in 2013.

After using tempo trainer gadget for 5000+ kilometers swimming training and also in the races i arrived at a conclusion: using tempo trainer for stroke frequency at mode 1(seconds per stroke) and at mode 3(strokes per minute) didnt carry me to upper level, but training regularly and hard by increasing power and improving my catch and pull quality improved me. When i m swim regularly i m improving my technique and when i do my daily dryland exercises i m gaining power and flexibility and as a result my stroke cadance increases naturally(unconsciously).So there comes no need for tempo trainer. On the other hand, using tempo trainer each day makes me addicted to it and when i took of it i m feeling absence. There is one more side effect that when i use tempo trainer i m always focusing on increasing my stroke cadance and while doing this i m budging from my catch and pull quality, for the sake of increasing the cadance cant concentrate on feel for the water. Tempo trainer maybe harnessing us, however it males us neglect the technical details.


Last edited by nightcrawler on Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Is tempo trainer really beneficial???

Post by SA on Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:32 am

Did some waterpolo lately and fell into a nice loping style after some time that was the most efficient and quite enjoyable to swim. Really felt like Janet Evans or Harry Wiltshire.
A tempo trainer would inhibit discovering this rhythm.

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Re: Is tempo trainer really beneficial???

Post by Mike A on Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:44 pm

I've never really liked using the tempo trainer for stroke rate pacing - that bloody beep drives me nuts! But I use it from time to time for lap pacing. I've swum some of my best times using the TT - it gives you that feedback, so you know how you're doing relative to the desired target. I go through phases though, falling in and out of love with it. Sometimes it seems like a burden, and it can be really demotivating if I drop behind the pace and can't catch up. Sometimes it's a pleasant surprise if I just set off with no TT or time target and finish on a decent time anyway.
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Re: Is tempo trainer really beneficial???

Post by s.sciame on Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:18 pm

FWIW I've been using TT on every session since 2012 and I always found it really beneficial (except when it breaks or makes me tear my swim caps). Whatever the mode (tempo, lap), it just pushes me swimming faster, just like the pace clock does but actually better. On main sets I usually use the lap mode (note that mode 1 can be used as lap mode when your target lap times are not integers). It's like having someone taking your splits on every length (or every 2,3,4 lengths etc) and giving you instant feedback. If I'm behind the beep at the turn I try to catchup in the next length.
I find mode 3 useful for other reasons: it's handy for descending sets when I want to increase pace gradually and evenly (eg build sets) or when I want to test gears and compare them. Today for instance I did a 30x75m pace 1:26/100m on 20s rest changing gear every 10 reps: gear 1 was 67SPM/19SPL, gear 2 was 70SPM/20SPL and gear 3 73SPM/21SPL. Then I compared the 3 gears in terms of heart rate and perceived effort for the same given pace. I also find mode 3 useful to improve turns and pushoffs: that is by counting the number of beeps during turns and pushoff and trying to surface at the flags in less time.

I believe mode 3 is not much about improving cadence. It's more about staying focused and committed at maintaining a given cadence (and a given SPL hence a given pace) throughout a set. And the moment your body wants to start losing DPS or cadence or wants to take it easier at the turns you have an instant feedback and can work on it.

Recently I'm having fun with using TT to improve starts and breakouts too: I just set it in mode 2 at 15s, go on the blocks and get ready. When I hear the beep I dive, try to surface with the best trajectory I can get and try to come to the wall before I hear the beep again (ie 15s). I think one can be very creative with TT.

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Re: Is tempo trainer really beneficial???

Post by Mike A on Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:56 pm

s.sciame wrote:(note that mode 1 can be used as lap mode when your target lap times are not integers)
This is really key. A difference of 1s per 25m is a huge leap, especially over longer distances. Being able to set lap times in tenths or hundredths of seconds is essential. For example, to drop a whole 15s from your 1500m time, you only need to drop 0.25s per 25m. So being able to use mode 1 for lap timing with the TT Pro is a huge improvement over the original (blue) Tempo Trainer.
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Re: Is tempo trainer really beneficial???

Post by nightcrawler on Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:57 pm

Yes, i had written that in SS forum. Actually these posts above are related with how we are using the tempo trainer's modes. I can also do the same by using my 20$ timer watch.

So is it beneficial for a better swim (better means faster time for swimming)?

No, it doesnt help us to swim faster at all. For 7 years i have been using it in all sessions, couldnt have seen any benefits for my pace. Indeed olympic swimmers and coaches dont use and recommend it, because it is not useful, moreover damages the technique. Did Janet Evans,  Mark Spitz, Vladimir Salnikov use it? No, because it was not available at that time but they still could break world records. So what makes us faster? Everyone has natural abilities and if we try to focus on these abilities we have the chance to improve, other way if we try to improve weeker points we loose time. For example if someone has 45 strokes per minute and can swim 48" 100m freestyle, changing his strokes per minute to 60 will greatly likely distrupt his technique(maybe led to shoulder injuries) and make him swim slower with a shorter distance per stroke and vice versa. Let me say what makes us faster:
1) proper mechanics (griftly this also depends on power and agility)
2) better metabolism
3) power and agility (griftly this also depends on proper mechanics)
We can improve these aspects by persistent work, better nutrition and recovery, race specific exercises for gaining power, agility and so speed. Agility and power is very hard almost impossible to be improved after 16-18 years old for girls and boys respectively due to myosine shell reaches to its thickest level, at this stage learning gets as much as slower (find and read LTAD model). After 16-18 one can learn to swim by TI or SS but cant get faster to a significant extent if hasnt got the proper DNA inside. Artificially generated stroke cadance or DPS cannot be sustainable via tempo trainer like gadgets.

On the other hand, tempo trainer also limits the improvement. According to my motivation, recovery, physical factors around the pool i can swim a 500m on 7:05 instead of 7:35 (6 second per 100m), so if i had limit myself with tempo trainer, i couldnt reach that performance, whst i should have done in this case, should i stop each time and play with the tempo trainer toy, such as scaling a gold precisely and as a result interrupt my training? I rather prefer listening my body than the toy.

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